CLEMSON – Last week, Clemson coach Dabo Swinney labeled Charone Peak “option No. 1” when it came to replacing injured standout receiver Mike Williams.
Peake showed why Saturday afternoon.
The fifth-year player out of Dorman High School had a career day in the Tigers’ 41-10 victory against Appalachian State, making four catches for 86 yards and two touchdowns.
His yardage total was a career high and his 59-yard touchdown reception in the second quarter was the longest catch of his career.
“That was a long pass right there,” Peake said. “I just looked and there was the ball. I didn’t know if he could throw it that far.”
Peake also hauled in a 24-yard fade in the far corner of the end zone earlier in the quarter.
“I was really happy for Charone,” co-offensive coordinator Jeff Scott said. “It was not a surprise for us coaches, because we’ve seen it in the spring and fall camp. It was really just a matter of Charone getting those opportunities and then capitalizing on them.”
Peake’s two scoring catches gave him seven for his career, but his first since Sept. 6, 2014 against South Carolina State.
–Greg Huegel made the first two field goals of his career on Saturday, scoring Clemson’s first points on a 39-yarder in the first quarter, then capping the Tigers’ scoring in the fourth quarter with a 47-yard field goal. He also had two tackles.
It also was a good day for punter Andy Teasdall, who averaged 43.5 yards on six punts. Included in his efforts was a 52-yard punt in the first quarter, his season and career long.
–Freshman defensive end Austin Bryant led Clemson with seven tackles. The Tigers, who have led the nation in tackles for loss each of the last two seasons, had 10 on Saturday, including three by defensive end Shaq Lawson.
But Lawson seemed more impressed by fellow lineman Carlos Watkins’ “pick six.”
“He looked great out there – he was moving,” Lawson said. “It’s great to get a touchdown from a defensive lineman.”
Watkins is Clemson’s first defensive lineman to return an interception for a touchdown since Kourtnei Brown turned the trick against North Carolina on Oct. 22, 2011.
–Linebacker Ben Boulware and safety Jayron Kearse also had interceptions. Kearse’s theft in the first quarter was the Tigers’ first forced turnover of the season and the seventh interception of his career. Clemson has had at least three interceptions in three of the last five games dating back to the 2014 season.
–Freshman Ray-Ray McCloud returned a third-quarter kickoff 73 yards – the longest kickoff return for the Tigers since Oct. 15, 2011, when Sammy Watkins returned a kickoff 89 yards for a touchdown at Maryland.
–Clemson has won 29 consecutive games against unranked opponents, the longest streak of its kind in school history. All of the 29 wins have been by at least four points, the longest active streak in the nation.